Thursday, June 16, 2011

Doubt - Faith = Truth

 "TRUTH Will not be destroyed by questioning or scrutiny. It will always stand unbeatable. Questioning only confirms TRUTH and makes it visibly stronger; it never crumbles!"
This little dandy turned up on my Facebook page today and I would agree with its logical message, but not its intended message. You see this was posted by someone whose humanity and generosity I value but her relationship with god is something I will never understand. Having full-on debates on this subject with her would undermine an otherwise nice friendship, so I try to refrain but it doesn't always happen. Having said that, I just went back and posted "from the perspective of the scientific community, questioning separates truth from falsehood because you prove something with evidence. but you need to come from the standpoint of 'i don't know' vs. 'i know for a fact.' It hopefully conveyed the point that if you view things from the perspective that you already have the answers to everything, that can and does distort the conclusions you take away from it because you never really accept the findings in the questions you get answers to. That is why critical thinking and looking at things from a skeptical, scientific perspective or myth-busting mentality has a much better chance of finding out 'the truth' about things. Believing that you absolutely, positively, unequivocally have all the answers and you are positively right and you know without a shadow of a doubt about something, is what will continually fuel the fire of religious/non-believer debate and divisiveness in this country.

Let's start by defining what truth is:


1. The quality or state of being true: "the truth of her accusation".
2. That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality: "tell me the truth".

#2 is pretty much what myself and billions of people define it to be - 'to be in accordance with fact or reality.'

Now, if you look at the quote above (coming from the perspective of believing in a god), all it is doing is saying faith (belief in the truth of god) is something that evidence or questioning will never overturn. That's not truth! That's just a play on words way of fucking with what truth actually is - evidence that supports an assertion about something! Just asserting that there is a god is not evidence; that's just a BELIEF there is a god.

I think there are probably four kinds of people when it comes to faith - not having any of it kind, empty inside always looking for anything outside of themselves for meaning kind, questioning continuously kind and then the die-hard 'I'm in it for the long haul' kind. The first and third kind are definitely able to distinguish between fact and fantasy; the empty inside kind possibly might be disillusioned enough to accept using reason and logic after trying one too many different religions on, only to realize it doesn't take faith to get by in this world.

But how do you convince someone with die-hard faith to look at things from a rational and logical perspective? Well, it would require a desire on their part to want to, first of all, and that is the key thing... they don't want to because it would require challenging a belief. Who, after years of saying 'my god is an awesome god' and other just faithy things, will ever stop and put aside that claim? If they did, they would feel foolish once they put aside the faith. I'm guessing that not wanting to feel foolish would win out because embarrassment is such a hard thing to deal with. They will defend, against all costs, their belief, in order to not have to admit they were wrong. Well, that, and there have been studies done to that effect. I would love to put my hands on it right now to include as a hyper-link, but it escapes me. If you seriously want it, I will find it for you! 

I think it's better to be coming at anything, and especially religion, from a rational and logical perspective or scientific perspective, whichever you prefer calling it. You don't make any presumptions, there are no claims to make like 'I know this is the only Truth!' - you take a look at the facts and then draw conclusions. You don't have an opinion on things one way or the other, you have a theory and then you go about proving it. The more evidence that backs up the claim, either conclusively or continually, that then is changing something from an assumption to a reality or a truth.

Let me make clear, as much as I think we should question things continually, we are entitled to opinions on any subject matter, but an opinion is a belief and we all have them, including me! I do not believe there is a god based on what I see around me, what I have gleened from reading the bible or educating myself with the vast amount of information available to me. Coming at religion and belief from a strictly logical perspective has not convinced me that god exists, that the bible is non-fiction or that there is a heaven or hell that I should be afraid of because it's so ILLOGICAL to believe any of this stuff. But guess what? I could be wrong! Does it change how I feel - no, but the difference between me and a die-hard faith kind is that I have absolutely no problem with a) admitting when I'm wrong, b) keep asking questions and c) keep defining truth.

Faith + Truth + Doubt = Faith

When you start with a conclusion as the only truth, faking questioning is lying to yourself that you are trying to uncover the truth.

Doubt + Truth = Tries to Find Truth

When you start with 'I don't know' you are open to looking at all perspectives and then proving which perspective is truth using reason and logic. But even then, you might not find truth because it might not be able to be proven, so it's not truth yet!

Doubt - Faith = Truth  *my favorite equation
If someone of faith would seriously look at things with a mind that is open to the possibility of a different interpretation of truth that is founded on science or better yet, put their belief aside for a moment and come at it from the perspective of a sponge that has no knowledge of spiritual things AND THEN look at evidence that has been proven valid enough to give you reasonable and logical doubt; then doubt would bring them to a place called reality.

Here's hoping that striving for reality is always something that all people would agree, is a good place to live in.

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